De Tomaso

Exotic automakers from Italy come and go, and some are missed more than others. But while names like Ferrari, Maserati and Lamborghini have remained constant throughout, others have risen and fallen. Bugatti was one such example – revived temporarily by Italian investors before Volkswagen stepped in to bring it back to Alsace – but another is De Tomaso.

Founded (not unlike Pagani) by an Argentine-Italian in Modena, but way back in 1959, De Tomaso produced legendary sports cars like the Vallelunga, Mangusta and of course the Pantera. It even owned Maserati and Moto Guzzi for a time, but it eventually petered off into bankruptcy. Along came a certain Gian Mario Rossignolo – a veteran auto exec in Italy – to scoop up what was left of the company in 2008.

The revival led to the debut of the Deauville concept at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, but a lack of interest and funds led to the program being sold to a Chinese automaker which appears to have done little with it. Meanwhile it looked for a time that Rossignolo was planning to continue development of a new Pantera, but those plans have reportedly lost momentum as the outfit struggled without enough capital to even pay its workers.

The most astute readers may recall Rossignolo's name coming up in the news about a month ago as well, when his other business – Prototipo SpA – sold the Nardo Technical Centre to Porsche. Whether the proceeds from that sale end up giving Rossignolo enough to pay his staff and possibly turn the Pantera program around, however, or if they'll only prove sufficient to repay his debts, remains to be seen.